Was Jesus Bigoted and Intolerant?
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
May Jesus rightly be deemed intolerant of the original and actual sin and propensities of fallen mankind? Could it be said that he practiced a form of ‘spiritual conversion therapy’? Should he be considered one who attempted to force his own spiritual morality upon the people?
“Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
By today’s standards Jesus would most probably be deemed an intolerant radical, regardless of the mercy and kindness he bestowed upon the multitude. The PC police of our day would swiftly label Jesus a bigoted hate speaker for promoting himself as the only true source of redemption and for expounding on the consequence of sinful rebellion.
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
During his brief earthly ministry Jesus acted with little regard for the religious establishment. Jesus was the truth incarnate and could never deny himself. There would be no appeasement.
“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
Jesus is the source of all that is righteous and good. He is a complete and utter offense to the strong and the proud.
“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
His was a message that was totally unacceptable to the religious and political powers of His day. Even most of the common folk would come to reject this bold messenger, despite the amazing works and miracles He wrought upon the people.
“He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth”
It would be the same today. If Jesus walked among us he would be completely rejected. Sin, in particular, has become a foreign concept deemed too offensive for mainstream, secular society (and even many churches of today).
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
At what point does the so-called ‘forcing morality upon your neighbor‘ argument run its course? Should our moral standard be fixed or perpetually progressing?
“Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”
When we take a moment to consider those who were truly impacted by the man responsible for turning the cultural order and spiritual establishment upside down, it is clear that the proud and haughty were often passed by due to their own resistance.
“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast , and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”
Rather it was they who thought the least of themselves who were the ones who fell before Jesus in need of the mercy and grace that only he could provide. They were the rejected and the outcasts. They were the humble, the hated, the afflicted, the somber, the destitute, the sober-minded, the desperate, the needy, the shamed, the distraught, the weak, the rebellious, the awakened, the sinner…
“And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”
At some point there will come a time in everyone’s life when we will be brought to our knees. Will we call upon Jesus and seek deliverance or will we keep fighting a losing battle?
Redemption cannot be had outside submission. Those who facilitate (and are seduced) by the prideful, boastful schemes of men will need to undergo a violent awakening (likened to Saul of Tarsus’ conversion on the road to Damascus) to be made receptive to these hard realities. A seared conscience is a tragic thing.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Jesus wasn’t an activist. He’s not merely a religious icon or a mythical concept. He didn’t befriend rulers or seek world domination. He didn’t lead global economic conferences or promise to end human suffering. He did not seek the approval of the masses or the respect of kings. He didn’t seek earthly utopia or the liberation of the oppressed. He did not endorse state-sponsored wealth redistribution.
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Jesus diagnosed our problem as one of a spiritual nature and offered himself as the remedy. I think it’s time us Christians, true and so-called, cease placing our own works and conditions upon Him.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Do our acts of obedience flow from a desire to reflect and uphold Biblical truth or a desire to use Jesus’ good name to mold a society that fits our own personally-designed values and ideals? If it be the later, we are wholly deceiving ourselves.
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
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